An unknown killer, clad in World War II U.S. Army fatigues, stalks a small New Jersey town bent on reliving a 35 year-old double murder by focusing on a group of college kids holding an annual Spring Dance.
Television viewer seeing this for the first time: Gee whiz, it's in black-and-white and was made in the 40's and is about crime and...Eureka!...another "noir" film is discovered. How about ... See full summary »
Army private Jerry, on leave, soon regrets introducing his girl Helen to love-em-and-leave-em pal Lieut. Hank Travers. Helen is smart enough to see Hank for what he is, but falls hard for ... See full summary »
Before Dario Argento's BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE changed the face of gialli in 1970, most from the late '60s (especially those of Umberto Lenzi & Carroll Baker) were psychological, "bloodless" erotic thrillers that relied on murder, sex, and DIABOLIQUE-like plot twists but 1968's KILLER WITHOUT A FACE was an exception in that it blended mid-60s "Barbara Steele/haunted castle" horror with the kind of proto-giallo crime thrillers ex-pat actor John Drew Barrymore used to make in the early '60s.
After her beloved cousin falls (?) from the tower of "Nottingham Castle" one stormy night in the pre-credit opening, Barbara, the mentally unstable mistress of the manor, hires a handsome architect to re-do the castle top-to-bottom but her husband warns him that she has psychotic fits every now and then as various castle inhabitants (a barrister, a Mrs. Danvers-like housekeeper, maids, and other sundry folk) start getting picked off one by one with a gun that has an extraordinarily long silencer. As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a curse on the castle ever since an ancestor was burned at the stake centuries before. Is Barbara responsible -or is something more insidious -maybe even supernatural- going on?
Filmed in atmospheric black & white with a jazzy score, the film can also boast Jess Franco favorite Janine Reynaud as a slinky femme fatale and Lawrence Tierney as a mute Igor-type servant. I love Larry in American Film Noir but, reely, what's he doing in this -wasn't he supposedly reduced to driving a hansom cab around Manhattan at the time?
The Italian giallo's usual xenophobia's on display here as well- the depraved goings-on occur outside Italy (England this time) and the heroine actually recuperates from a breakdown in sunny Italy to restore her health. When she goes back to England, supposedly recovered, depravity sets in again and the murders resume.
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